The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced the discovery of a gene mutation that leads to burning eyes in some people.
According to a news release, the gene mutation affects the protein that makes the protein responsible for protecting the retina.
The gene mutation is located in a gene called FLO1, which is responsible for making the retinal pigment epithelial cells that help make the cells in the eye.
“This new discovery could lead to new treatments for burns,” said Dr. Steven Hagen, Director of the Division of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Duke University.
As we age, our cells shed certain genes, and one of those genes, FLO3, is involved in the production of retinal epithelial growth factor.
Scientists previously knew that this gene mutation could affect the production and/or survival of FLO.
However, they had not previously discovered that the gene also affects the production or survival of the retinoid cells that produce the pigment.
So researchers used the gene to look at gene mutations that had previously been linked to eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
This new study suggests that the FLO gene mutation was linked to some forms of cataract and macula degeneration, leading researchers to think that FLO may be involved in these diseases.
While the mutation is not caused by the sun, it can be passed down from parent to child, so scientists believe that this mutation may be passed on to the offspring.
If this mutation is passed down to future generations, it could have a positive effect on their risk of developing cataracas and maculae degeneration from aging, as well as other eye diseases, including macular macular aberrations, or macular edema.
Flores et al., “A mutation in the FL-3 gene causes burn-induced eye inflammation,” Mayo Clinic Proceedings, March 14, 2019.
SOURCE: Mayo Clinic Press release